The Right Blend Blog

Walk to Dorchester Academy

Once upon a time school buses & parent pick-up and drop off lines didn’t exist. To get an education students had to use their feet to walk to and from school. This was the norm for many communities with large rural areas. It didn’t matter what the weather was like. Dedicated students showed up eager to learn things that they would pass down for generations.

Dorchester Students

Walkin’ to Dorchester Academy

Most who attended Dorchester Academy started and ended each day by walking up to 12 miles one way. Located in Midway it has been a pillar in the community since its establishment in 1872! Although the education program started in 1866, the American Missionary Association provided funds that allowed for a new physical building and the ability to provide a wider range of subjects for its students in 1872.

The bell at the Midway Congressional Church played an important role for students at the school because it kept time for them. The first ring of the day was to let the kids know that it was time for them to begin their commute. The ringing would continue multiple times throughout the day and into the evening. Students were able hear the echo from 7-10 miles away!

By 1917, the fully-accredited high school had an enrollment of over 300 students. Dorchester Academy was ahead of the times as it was the first school in Georgia to graduate a 12th grade class when most schools stopped their education programs in the 11th grade. The high quality of education was very clear when the entire senior class of 1934 was able to go to college!

Midway Congressional Church

The Legacy Lives On

Academic learning ended for Dorchester Academy in 1940. However the building continued to be a vital part of the African American community. It was established as Dorchester Cooperative Center and became an institute for community development and political and social change. The Liberty County Citizen’s Council was founded in 1946. It helped register and organize African-American voters. If you visit, keep an eye out for the jars of jelly beans placed throughout the historic site. They are a symbol of how African-Americans citizens were kept from voting. Voters would guess the number of jelly beans that were in the jar. If their guess was wrong, they were not allowed to vote.


It’s  one of only 11 stops in Georgia on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent lots of time at Dorchester Academy where he played baseball with the students, got to know them and had his very own room! Dr. King was accompanied by several other key figures including Dr. Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth. The site is where many of these figures prepared for “Project C” which would later be memorialized as the infamous Birmingham March. This was one of the first major victories in the Civil Rights Movement.

Project C

An Incredible Walk in Liberty County You Will Never Forget

Each year the Dorchester Improvement Association hosts the Walk to Dorchester to celebrate the impact made by the school! It gives members of the community and visitors alike the opportunity to take the same path that students did when attending the academy. This incredible event brings together people from all walks of life and helps us to look back at the past while still moving forward.

The 23rd annual Walk to Dorchester will take place on Saturday, June 17th. Participants will begin their walk at 6am in Briar Bay Park in Riceboro and end at the school. All proceeds from the event go back into the school and go towards further improvements. For additional information, please contact Dr. Clemontine Washington at 912.884.9685 or Lana Walthour at 912.369.3407.

Participating in A Walk to Dorchester is a great way to #ExploreLiberty and learn about the amazing legacy that those who walked before you left behind!

Walk to Dorchester Event

Liberty County small logomark

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